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In the past, grocery delivery was a costly luxury. With COVID-19, it’s now a must. Grocery delivery subscriptions are a smart way to offset the cost, but only if you do the math. Don’t worry; I’ve done it for you! Here’s the lowdown on the most common services to help make the decision process a tad easier for you.
(Psst! Make sure to download the free Krazy Coupon Lady app to make the most of your orders.)
1. Walmart’s Express Delivery has the fastest delivery times.
Walmart Express Delivery delivers your groceries within two hours. Express Delivery costs $10 on top of the regular existing delivery charge ($17.95 – $19.95). There is no minimum order, and whatever you can order with your regular Walmart delivery or pickup order, you can order with Express. If you have a Walmart+ subscription, you only need to pay the extra $10 per Express order.
With a Walmart+ subscription:
- Costs $98 annually. This breaks down to $8.17 per month
- Month-to-Month subscription is $12.95. That’s $155.40 a year
- No order minimum for shipped orders as of December 2020
- Home deliveries have a $35 minimum
- No markup on delivery groceries
- Save $57.40 a year with an annual subscription
- You have to complete 10 orders per year ($99.50) to justify the cost of the annual subscription ($98).
You can tip your driver in the Walmart app.
2. Amazon grocery delivery services are free for Prime members.
Dragging yourself to the grocery store to do your shopping has to be one of the biggest pains after a long day. Amazon recognized this and introduced AmazonFresh, along with Prime Now and Amazon Pantry options.
The main differences between all of these services are where you are and what you can get. For instance, based on my location, I can order groceries from Whole Foods using Prime Now, but AmazonFresh is a no for me. When you go to Amazon you can put in your zip code to check which service is available where you live.
With Prime Membership:
- Annual Amazon Prime memberships are $129. This breaks down to $12.99 per month.
- $35 order minimum to qualify for free delivery.
- Or get free delivery with Amazon’s 30-day free Prime Membership trial.
Without Prime Membership:
- $5.99 delivery fee per order.
- You’d have to complete at least 21 orders per year ($125.79) to justify the cost of the annual subscription ($129)
Whole Foods Grocery Delivery: Prime Now
AmazonFresh delivers groceries from actual Amazon warehouses, while Prime Now delivers from Whole Foods. When I say “Prime Now” I’m referring to Whole Foods grocery delivery since Amazon bought Whole Foods and this is how Whole Foods delivers groceries. Prime Now is free to use for Prime members, and sales and deals listed in the Whole Foods app will apply to your order.
With a Prime membership get free delivery for orders of $35 or more. Without a Prime membership, the delivery fee is $5.99.
Amazon Prime Grocery Delivery: AmazonFresh
AmazonFresh offers free delivery on two-hour same-day orders of $35 or more for Prime members. A Prime membership is needed to receive free grocery delivery; otherwise, it’s $5.99.
AmazonFresh’s pricing is comparable to Whole Foods’ pricing for their own brand, called “365 Everyday Value” items.
Online Grocery Delivery: Amazon Pantry
Amazon Pantry is either a $5.99 flat-rate shipping fee per order, or free for Prime members on orders over $35.
3. Instacart Express gives you the widest selection of grocery stores.
Instacart is a third-party grocery delivery service that gives grocery stores like Aldi, Publix, Safeway, and Albertsons delivery service options to help more customers. If you sign up for Instacart’s Express grocery delivery subscription, you’ll get a two-week free trial and one- to two-hour home delivery.
With Instacart Express Subscription:
- Month-to-Month Instacart Express Subscriptions are $9.99. That’s $119.88 a year.
- Annual Instacart Express Subscriptions are $99. This breaks down to $8.25 per month.
- 1.9% service fee.
- $10 order minimum to qualify for delivery.
- $35 order minimum to qualify for free delivery.
- Save $20.88 a year with an annual subscription.
Without Instacart Express Subscription:
- Delivery fees are $3.99 – $7.99 per order without a subscription
- 5% (or $2 minimum) service fee
- $10 order minimum to qualify for delivery
- You have to complete at least 20 orders per year ($119.80) to justify the cost of the annual subscription ($119.88)
Beware of high delivery fees during busy times. Before you’ve placed your order, delivery fees will be listed once you pick a delivery time — so make sure to double-check! On top of the 1.9 – 5% service fee, you’ll be charged an additional fee when you order alcohol. Instacart Express subscribers are charged $0.80 – $4, while non-Express subscribers have to pay $2 – $10 in service fees.
As a rule, shopping through third-party grocery delivery services like Instacart will cost you more. This is because grocery stores using this service have to pay for it, dearly. The only way for them to make up the loss is to charge more for their products online, charge a service fee, and/or charge a delivery fee on top of that. Publix, for example, charges an extra 10 – 20% more for online grocery delivery than they do in store.
Oh, and remember that Instacart doesn’t consider service fees as a tip. Their default tip is 5%, with a minimum suggestion of $2 per individual store delivery. Tips are optional, but they are encouraged.
4. Shipt offers free Target grocery delivery for the first four weeks.
Shipt (much like Instacart and owned by Target) creates partnerships so they may bring their grocery delivery services to stores like H-E-B, Meijer, and more. Plus, right now Target is offering new Shipt users a four-week free trial with unlimited free delivery for orders over $35.
With Shipt Subscription:
- Annual Shipt Subscriptions are $99. This breaks down to $8.25 per month.
- Month-to-Month Shipt Subscriptions are $14 a month. That’s $168 a year.
- $35 order minimum to qualify for free delivery.
- Save $69 a year with an annual subscription.
Without Shipt Subscription:
- Delivery fees are $9.99 per delivery (if ordered via Target).
- You have to complete at least 10 orders per year ($99.90) to justify the cost of the annual subscription ($99).
For orders under $35, Shipt charges members a $7 delivery fee.
Here’s what’s interesting about Shipt’s grocery delivery service: If you use Shipt through Target, you can choose to pay $9.99 per delivery order instead of subscribing.
Oh, and although tips are not required, be sure to tip your Shipt shopper and rate them. The general consensus seems to be around a 10 – 20% tip.
5. Get Costco grocery delivery whether you’re a member or not.
Costco offers three ways to shop: Standard and Two-Day Delivery with CostcoGrocery.com (for members only), or Same-Day Delivery powered by Instacart (for which you don’t have to be a Costco member but you have to shop on Instacart.com, not Costco.com and it’ll cost you more because Instacart marks up everything.)
Delivery is free for first-time Instacart users, but even if this isn’t your first time using the service, you may be able to qualify for free Instacart delivery. My local Costco store is running a promotion to get free Instacart delivery when you purchase $40 of select products.
Members can select free Two-Day Delivery or Standard Delivery through Costco.com on non-perishable orders over $75. Members who spend at least $35 on groceries — from perishables and household goods to essential medications — would select Same-Day Delivery for a $3.99 – $7.99 delivery fee (plus tip) via Instacart.
Non-Costco Members pay Costco a $3.99 fee per Instacart order, on top of Instacart’s $3.99 – $7.99 delivery fee.
You might be wondering…”Hmm. Can I susbcribe to Instacart and save money on my Costco membership, never having to go in store and wait in those long lines again?”
Good question. Here’s the math: If you sign up for an Instacart subscription, it costs $99 – $119.88 per year. A Costco membership costs anywhere from $60 – $120 a year. The verdict: Instacart’s annual subscriptions cost almost $38 more, so it’s not worth it if that’s all you’d use it for.
Plus, items are more expensive when ordering grocery delivery through Instacart. You’re likely to see notes on Costco.com saying, “Items may be available in your local warehouse for a lower price.”
TIP: If you have an Executive Membership or the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi, your rewards will accrue through grocery delivery orders just as they would if you were shopping in store.
6. Try Harris Teeter’s array of grocery store delivery subscription options.
With ExpressLane Subscription:
- Annual ExpressLane Subscriptions are $99.95. This breaks down to $8.33 per month.
- Month-to-Month ExpressLane Subscriptions are $16.95 a month. That’s $203.40 a year.
- Save $103.45 a year with an annual subscription.
Without ExpressLane Subscription:
- Additional $4.95 “picking” service fee per order.
- Delivery fees are $9.95 for orders over $50. This breaks down to $14.90 per order.
- Delivery fees are $11.95 for orders under $50. This breaks down to $16.90 per order.
- You have to complete 6.7 orders over $50 per year ($99.83), and at least 6 orders under $50 per year ($101.40) to justify the cost of the annual subscription ($99.95).
If you only order grocery delivery online once a month at $14.90 – $16.90, you don’t need the subscription (which costs $8.33 – $16.95 per month).
TIP: Seniors 60 years and older can get free ExpressLane pickup ($4.95 savings) by using SD60 and get $5 ExpressLane delivery ($5 savings) using SDDEL, until further notice.
7. Download FreshDirect’s grocery delivery app and get a 60-day free trial.
FreshDirect is a grocery delivery service operating within New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Washington D.C. When you sign up for FreshDirect’s DeliveryPass subscription, you can take advantage of their 60-day free trial, which will save you money right off the bat. Plus, you’ll get a bonus $5 off Tuesday – Friday grocery delivery.
With FreshDirect DeliveryPass Subscription:
- Annual DeliveryPass subscriptions are $129. This breaks down to $10.75 per month.
- Six-month Anytime DeliveryPass subscriptions are $79. This breaks down to $13.17 per month.
- Six-month Midweek DeliveryPass subscriptions (Tuesday – Thursday) are $39. This breaks down to $6.50 per month.
- $30 order minimum required.
- Save $6.67 per month if you choose a Midweek DeliveryPass subscription.
Without FreshDirect DeliveryPass Subscription:
- Delivery fees are $5.99 – $7.99 per order without a subscription.
- $30 order minimum.
- You have to complete 22 orders per year ($131.78) to justify the cost of the Annual DeliveryPass subscription ($129).
Note: FreshDirect prices are not cheap compared to in-store prices. For example, an average 10.8-ounce box of Cheerios cereal costs $3.99 with FreshDirect compared to $1.99 at CVS and $2.99 at Target.
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